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Find sheds light on the occupant of the 'Tomb of the Diver' at Paestum


The identity of the man buried in the so-called 'Tomb of the Diver' at Paestum has finally been revealed: he was a almost certainly an important and wealthy inhabitant of the ancient Greek city of Poseidonia (Paestum) in southern Italy.

Find sheds light on the occupant of the 'Tomb of the Diver' at Paestum
The covering slab from the 'Tomb of the Diver' at Paestum' 
[Credit: Paestum, Scavi e Museo Archeologico]
The 'Tomb of the Diver' contains five painted slabs - two on the long walls of the tomb, two on the shorter end walls and also on the covering slab which bears the painting of the diver from which the tomb takes its name - considered by many scholars to be the finest surviving example of Greek wall painting of the fifth century BC.

Find sheds light on the occupant of the 'Tomb of the Diver' at Paestum
Schematic drawing showing the positions of wall paintings in the 'Tomb of the Diver' 
[Credit: Paestum, Scavi e Museo Archeologico]
The fact that the tomb was found at some 2 km from the city suggests that its occupant was an elite member of the community, quite possibly an initiate of the chthonic cults, who was buried in a secret rite. The painting of the diver diving into the sea is in fact thought to be a symbolic representation of the moment of death when the soul dives from life into the sea of eternity.

Find sheds light on the occupant of the 'Tomb of the Diver' at Paestum
The recently found covering slab from the 'Tomb of the Palmettes' 
[Credit: Paestum, Scavi e Museo Archeologico]
A marble covering slab from another tomb of the same period as the 'Tomb of the Diver', likewise decorated with palmettes, was recently discovered in a storage area of the Paestum Archaeological Park Museum by its director Gabriel Zuchtriegel. The 'Tomb of the Palmettes', as it is called, contained the burial of a woman and was found in the necropolis at ancient Poseidonia.

Find sheds light on the occupant of the 'Tomb of the Diver' at Paestum
The painted slabs from the 'Tomb of the Diver' at the Paestum Archaeological Park Museum 
[Credit: Paestum, Scavi e Museo Archeologico]
The similar style and technical finish of the two tombs, both built between 500 and 480 BC - the same period in which the Temple of Athena at Poseidonia was erected - indicates the existence of a local workshop specializing in funerary paintings during the sixth and the beginning of the fifth century BC.

Find sheds light on the occupant of the 'Tomb of the Diver' at Paestum
The painted slabs from the 'Tomb of the Palmettes' at the Paestum Archaeological Park Museum 
[Credit: Paestum, Scavi e Museo Archeologico]
The marble slabs from the 'Tomb with the Palmettes' are now on display at the 'Mario Napoli Room' at the Archaeological Park of Paestum together with the five painted slabs from the 'Tomb of the Diver'.

Source: Napoli Repubblica [October 07, 2016]
TANN

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